My Sunday video is now live (a day late). Here’s a quote: “The monotheism of the Hebrews was a polemic against the paganism of their neighbors in the ancient Near East.”
This video features snippets of two courses that are available for free online. The first is Dr. Christine Hayes’ Yale course and other is Rabbi Dr. Shaye J. D. Cohen’s Harvard course.
““The monotheism of the Hebrews was a polemic against the paganism of their neighbors in the ancient Near East.””
perhaps, but it seems to be just a way for one group to try to claim itself special, but with no evidence at all. “Our gods are greater than yours” can morph easily into, “our god is greater than yours.” That we see evidence of the Israelite god having come from a polytheistic basis seems to argue for the creation of an artificial distinction for an “us” and “them”.
I was reading through the notes for the courses and found them interesting to see how apologetics works in them.
Hey Velkyn, thanks for stopping by, I hope you’ve been well. So in my video I play excerpts from Dr. Hayes’ and Rabbi Dr. Cohen’s lectures to show that Hebraic monotheism and its associated laws, although similar in appearance, were completely different from those of neighboring tribes in the ancient Near East. Hebrew religious philosophy had massive social implications, not least of which was that their laws were far more progressive. So my point is, sure, the Hebrews claimed to be special. But they *were* special. Judeo-Christian philosophy transformed the world.
Progressive? I do wonder what you think was progressive. They were as fascinated by slavery, blood sacrifice, etc as everyone else.
What did you think of Rabbi Cohen’s explanation of how revolutionary the Hebrew law code was compared to their neighbors? You didn’t find his explantion of the goring ox, or the background behind the lex talionis compelling?